As we barrel headfirst into the new year, we wanted to pause to reflect on the
dumpster fire year that was 2017. Actually, it was a pretty amazing year here at Spry. Here are some of the high points from the past year and some things we’re most jazzed about in 2018.
Spry Turns 7
Spry Digital turned seven years old in April. Does that make us the temperamental child of agency world? Perhaps. Let’s just say that we’ve always been wise beyond our years...
For one thing, a company that is seven years old is still young enough to retain the entrepreneurial, anything-it-takes spirit that inspired us to start a business in the first place, while old enough to have formed a culture, body of work, processes and principles from which to build. Since our start in 2010, we’ve tried lots of things – many of them successful, and more than a few falls resulting in bumps and bruises. Building a digital agency is all about recognizing the lessons in failure. Despite that, we are still the inquisitive types that like to pull things apart and play near outlets. It keeps our curious, problem-solving minds happy when we continue to learn so we can build better products.
Seven years in, it certainly feels like we’re moving beyond the awkward growth stage of the business. We’ll continue to be here for our clients and partners, and get on with the business of building relationships, growing our team, and doing good work.
Building Client Work
In 2017 we continued to work with a stable of clients ranging from large enterprises that serve a global customer base to nonprofits that are dedicated to making the world around us a better place to live. In 2017, we brought some much-needed focus to our service offerings, developing our capabilities in key areas to meet the demands of larger and more complex projects.
Here are just a few of the projects that we’re most proud of from the past year:
World Chess Hall of Fame
The game of chess has a strong pulse in this country, and its heart beats at the Saint Louis Chess Campus. The vibrant Central West End is the long-standing home of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and the World Chess Hall of Fame – as well as the Q Boutique and Kingside Diner – where some of the world’s top chess tournaments are held and broadcasted live to a global audience.
Spry has been a digital partner for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center since 2013, building and hosting their website and providing on-site technical support during tournaments.
This past year, we were thrilled to be a part of the successful launch of the new website for The World Chess Hall of Fame. With assistance from long-standing Chess Club partners Arcturis, the new website was designed around promoting the multiple events, programming, and activities that WCHOF provides, while providing an online home for the best players to have ever played the game with the World and U.S. Chess Halls of Fame. Developed on Drupal 7 and CiviCRM, the site helps WCHOF manage and share the activities of the many donors and constituents across the Saint Louis Chess Campus.
The new website establishes The World Chess Hall of Fame as the premier destination, online and offline, for the game of chess in the United States.
Explore the new World Chess Hall of Fame website.
Having worked with Suddenlink Communications since 2015, some projects under our belt include successfully launching their best-in-class website, Suddenlink.com, and hosting and supporting their “buyflow” application, a custom e-commerce solution that transformed their business. In 2017, our work with this client expanded following the purchase of Suddenlink by Altice, a multinational corporation based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Following the purchase of multiple telecom/cable service providers in the United States, including Suddenlink and Optimum, Altice USA required help merging brands and technology. Spry has been working with the teams at Altice to bring the successful Suddenlink buyflow application to other business units, like Suddenlink Business, Optimum Residential and Optimum Business. In addition, Spry migrated the residential site, Optimum.com, to the Drupal content management system in 2017 (launching in early 2018). In 2018, we will continue working with Altice USA to align their multiple web properties under the Altice brand, while designing and implementing new buyflow solutions across business units.
Randy Burkett Lighting Design
In 2017 we continued to work with small businesses, and one of the most satisfying was the design of the new brand identity and web presence for Randy Burkett Lighting Design. As a leading lighting design firm, RBLD’s work can be seen lighting some of the most prominent buildings, monuments and public spaces in the United States. Reflecting the company's monumental work is an elegant brand and website that builds upon the firm’s historical assets, showing their work in the best possible light (we know, we know…).
In 2018, we’ll finally be able to share the labor of love that has been our work over the past several months. Our partnership with GARED HOLDINGS will see the redesign and launch of websites for both of their sports equipment brands, Gared Sports and Performance Sports Systems. Along with new web experiences, we are building an entirely new online product catalog that powers the multiple websites and applications, including a new application to help visitors properly equip their environments and recommend products.
The diversity of projects and output of work continues to be a challenge that we embrace, and we can’t wait to show you more work from our shop in 2018!
New Team Members
Spry continued to expand our team in 2017. While our numbers didn’t grow by much, our capabilities certainly did. Meet some of the new faces at Spry:
Before joining Spry in February, Tony led teams at some of the top creative and consulting agencies in St. Louis. At Spry, Tony oversees all accounts and projects, keeping internal and client teams on track with high energy and a positive vibe. When he’s not at Spry, you’ll find Tony working on home-improvement projects and traveling with his volleyball club to compete in tournaments.
Kyle has been developing software since high school. Kyle’s has been the lead developer on higher education sites, using tools like Drupal, Angular.js and Node.js. In his personal life, he has traveled halfway around the world, and he kicks literal ass (along with other parts of the body) with his formal Muay Thai training.
A native of Southern California and recent graduate from Columbia University in NYC, Drew takes on numerous development-led efforts for Spry Digital. He really is a jack of all trades, so it will be fun to see what new challenges Drew tackles in 2018. He also makes experimental beats when he’s not coding.
Dominic is an information systems student at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. Shortly after starting his internship at Spry, we recognized Dominic’s solid analytic skills and technical prowess and offered him a permanent place on our team. When not taking classes or at Spry, he can be found tossing pizza for the family business, unwinding with his girlfriend or watching Rick and Morty.
In the past week, we added Erika Enderling and Dena Rogers to our team. They will be handling accounting and office management responsibilities, respectively. Keep on the lookout for them and all the new faces, as we expect further growth in 2018.
There were many other memories that made 2017 an exciting year. Some of the highlights include:
- Spry partners Sheila Burkett and Julia Koelsch shared the honor of being named Top Women Business Owners in St. Louis for 2017 by Small Business Monthly.
- Chief Technology Officer Julia Koelsch was invited to join the technical panel – alongside Amazon Alexa’s global lead Michael Francisco – at AdClubSTL’s 2017 Digital Symposium.
- Spry hosted a sponsor’s table with our team at the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference, where Creative Director Joe Duffin participated on a panel discussing the evolution of content in digital marketing. We’ll be back at our sponsor’s table again this year, and don’t miss Joe’s talk, “Beyond the Tactics: Integrated Marketing Strategy for New Product Launch,“ at this year’s event.
- Spry organized and hosted DrupalCamp St. Louis, the local conference for Drupal users, and CiviCon, the national conference for CiviCRM users. Both are open source tools we leverage at Spry, so we are passionate about supporting these communities.
- We continue to provide internship opportunities for young people looking to break into the fields of digital marketing and technology through St. Louis Youth Jobs. It’s a tremendous organization, and we always look forward to working with the talented individuals they send our way.
- Our agency is proud to mentor young women in technology, and we did so in 2017 at the annual UMSL IS Department’s Women’s Hackathon. We also spoke at the St. Louis chapter of Women in Digital. The trend of women not enrolling in IS and CS programs continues, and so does our commitment to reversing this trend by supporting young women at crucial stages of their development.
Spry’s accomplishments in 2017 would not have been possible without our amazing team, partners and clients. Spry will continue to build even stronger relationships with our commitment to our clients’ success.